AHCPR: Gets a New Name, Refocused Mission
The House Commerce Committee unanimously approved legislation to reauthorize the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, while renaming and redirecting it in the process. AHCPR, the government's "leading gatherer of health information," will become the Agency for Health Research and Quality with a focus on "enhanc[ing] the quality, appropriateness and effectiveness of health services." Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noted, "If we want to improve on the status quo in health care, we have to understand what the status quo really is" (Rovner, CongressDaily, 8/6).
"Date Rape" Drug May Be Federally Banned
The committee also unanimously approved legislation to make so- called "date-rape drugs" a controlled substance under federal law. Placing these drugs in the same category as heroin and cocaine means that anyone "convicted of possessing or using the drug illegally could be sent to prison for 20 years." The drug, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), is already considered a controlled substance in 20 states (Cohen, Detroit News, 8/6). Included in the legislation was a waiver "to protect the continuing development of a drug using GHB to treat a rare form of narcolepsy" (CongressDaily, 8/6).